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CC Peterhansel gives Mitsubishi first stage win of Dakar Rally

Mitsubishi Motors Motor Sports News

2006 Dakar Rally

Weather conditions: warm and sunny with a slight breeze - 13-18C
Leg 5: Ouarzazate - Tan Tan
Liaison; 187 kms; Special 350 kms; Liaison 282 kms

For immediate release
Wednesday, January 4th, 2006

REPSOL MITSUBISH RALLIART TEAM CLOSES THE GAP ON LEADERS IN FINAL MOROCCAN STAGE OF DAKAR RALLY

Frenchman Peterhansel takes fastest time on final Moroccan test
Team mate Luc Alphand moves up to third overall in Dakar Rally

TAN TAN, Morocco - The Repsol Mitsubishi Ralliart Team clinched its first stage victory of the 28th Dakar Rally, when Frenchman Stéphane Peterhansel and co-driver Jean-Paul Cottret guided their Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution to the quickest time on the 350 kms special stage between Ouarzazate and Tan Tan, today (Wednesday).

The defending champions moved up from 11th in the overall standings to ninth place, as team mates Luc Alphand and Joan 'Nani' Roma climbed to third and seventh positions, respectively. Spaniard Carlos Sainz continues to lead the event, although his advantage has been substantially trimmed to just 1m 28s.

Peterhansel had begun this morning's stage behind all his major rivals for victory. ~I started 14th on the road behind many cars this morning and managed to make good progress,~ said Peterhansel. ~A couple of cars had flat tires and we moved up the field. Tomorrow I will start first on the stage and we will enter Mauritania. The race may well take on a different form from now on. I lost 17 minutes in Morocco yesterday, but now I have a good chance to make up that time over the next few days.~

Alphand and co-driver Gilles Picard had begun the stage in fourth place in the overall standings and moved up to third overall after setting the fifth fastest time.

Team mates Joan 'Nani' Roma and Henri Magne were third quickest today, after leading at the first passage control, and will now head into the Islamic Republic of Mauritania in seventh place.

~It was not easy and I had to start at the back of the first group of drivers,~ said Roma. ~Mark Miller was in front of me and I was lucky that he was driving quickly. It was not possible to push too much in the dust. Now I think the race will change. It will become very difficult over the next three days and I think that the overall leaderboard will change a lot.~

~I was not too unhappy yesterday,~ said Repsol Mitsubishi Ralliart Team Director Dominique Serieys. ~Today has been much better. We have not been able to use the true potential of our cars yet, because of the narrow tracks and the risks associated with passing motorbikes in dust. Stéphane will open the track on Thursday. We know this area quite well and it isa fast track, which may also suit the Buggies. Tomorrow is not the only day in Mauritania. There are four days and the stage tomorrow may be the quickest of them all. We will see.~

Tomorrow (Thursday) marks the final journey through Morocco before the rally heads across the border into the Islamic Republic of Mauritania. Teams will leave Tan Tan - one of the southernmost settlements in Morocco and main centre of the Tarfaya province - in the middle of the night to tackle the first punishing 336 kms liaison section across a remote border control.

The Repsol Mitsubishi Ralliart Team will then enter a southerly 444 kms special stage along the western Mauritanian border to a finish 12 kms from the town of Zouérat. The stage is arguably the most difficult so far and features rocky tracks, gravel roads and sand dunes.

Positions on SS5 (unofficial @ 15.30 hrs):
1. Stéphane Peterhansel (F)/Jean-Paul Cottret (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 3h 34m
40s
2. Mark Miller (USA)/Dirk Van Zitzewitz (D) Volkswagen Touareg 3h 35m 52s
3. Joan Roma (E)/Henri Magne (AND) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 3h 37m 00s
4. Jean-Louis Schlesser (F)/Francois Borsotto (F) Schlesser Buggy 3h 38m 51s
5. Luc Alphand (F)/Gilles Picard (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 3h 39m 07s
6. Giniel de Villiers (ZA)/Tina Thörner (S) Volkswagen Touareg 3h 39m 07s
7. Jutta Kleinschmidt (D)/Fabrizia Pons (I) Volkswagen Touareg 3h 39m 58s
8. Bruno Saby (F)/Michel Périn (F) Volkswagen Touareg 3h 41m 29s
9. Carlos Sainz (E)/Andreas Schulz (D) Volkswagen Touareg 3h 43m 39s
10. Thierry Magnaldi (F)/Arnaud Debron (F) Schlesser Buggy 3h 44m 32s

Positions after SS5 (unofficial @ 15.30 hrs):
1. Carlos Sainz (E)/Andreas Schulz (D) Volkswagen Touareg 13h 04m 57s
2. Jutta Kleinschmidt (D)/Fabrizia Pons (I) Volkswagen Touareg 13h 06m 25s
3. Luc Alphand (F)/Gilles Picard (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 13h 07m 04s
4. Mark Miller (USA)/Dirk Van Zitzewitz (D) Volkswagen Touareg 13h 07m 13s
5. Giniel de Villiers (ZA)/Tina Thörner (S) Volkswagen Touareg 13h 07m 18s
6. Bruno Saby (F)/Michel Périn (F) Volkswagen Touareg 13h 07m 38s
7. Joan Roma (E)/Henri Magne (AND) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 13h 08m 42s
8. Jean-Louis Schlesser (F)/Francois Borsotto (F) Schlesser Buggy 13h 09m 11s
9. Stéphane Peterhansel (F)/Jean-Paul Cottret (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 13h 14m 22s
10. Thierry Magnaldi (F)/Arnaud Debron (F) Schlesser Buggy 13h 19m 14s

Ends

Copyright free photographs, driver profiles and pre-event driver interviews for editorial media only can be downloaded from www.mmsp-media.com

For further information please contact Florian Moser, MMSP’s Communications Department:
MMSP GmbH, Adam-Opel-Str. 4
D 65468 Trebur-Astheim
Florian Moser
Telephone +49 (0) 172 6697 578
E-mail f.moser@mitsubishi-motor-sports.com

or Neil Perkins and Sandy Divelec, On-event Communications, Repsol Mitsubishi Ralliart Team, Tel: + 88 216 511 46540



Date issued: 04/01/2006

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